William N. Selig

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150 Years of William N Selig

Today is the 150th birthday of our founder, William N Selig.  He was born on March 14, 1864, at 10 Karmer Street in Chicago, IL.  His parents were Joseph and Antonia Selig and he was the fifth of the Selig’s eight children.  He was described as intelligent, smart, stout and friendly to a fault. William Selig did not like to be photographed.  He was a behind-the-scenes man who got stuff done.  On this, his 150th birthday, we are sharing two rare photos of the Colonel. The first photo is from 1912, in William Selig’s office at the Selig Polyscope Company.  When making a film, William Selig always insisted on authenticity, whether it would be traveling thousands of miles to Oklahoma to film on a real ranch, using real cowboys or even using real Indians for his films.  Louis Hill, chairman of the board for the Great Northern Railroad, brought representatives of the Blackfoot Indian tribe to Chicago because they wanted to personally thank Selig for preserving the Blackfoot Indians and their customs forever in a motion picture.  The photo was taken in Selig’s office just after coming back from lunch.  He walked into his private office and was shocked to [...]

By | 2017-02-23T14:10:12+00:00 March 13th, 2014|Selig Polyscope Company|0 Comments

BOOK INTERVIEW: Hollywood on Lake Michigan

There are very few books out there which talk about the Selig Polyscope Company and it's contributions to the motion picture industry.  The book "Hollywood on Lake Michigan" takes a look at Chicago's film history.  From William Selig to Batman, you will get a taste of film making in the Windy City.  In case you did not know, the Selig Polyscope Company was founded in Chicago in 1896. In this video which aired on PBS in Chicago, authors Michael Corcoran and Arnie Bernstein talks about all aspects of filmmaking in the Windy City.  They share some great facts and tidbits about films like HOME ALONE and THE BLUES BROTHERS.  For all of you Selig fans, you will hear one of the best stories about William Selig we have ever heard.  I won't give it away but it is well worth the time to watch and find out!    The book is out and you can find it at your favorite bookseller.   The image above is from the Michael and Kate Corcoran Collection.      

By | 2017-02-23T14:10:13+00:00 September 13th, 2013|Selig Polyscope Company, Studio History|3 Comments

1916: Notice To Exhibitors

When we re-established the studio one of our missions was to preserve and educate the studio's history.  This is an ad out of a trade magazine called MOTION PICTURE WORLD.  This ad tells of Selig's move to a new releasing agency.  We hope you have enjoyed this look into our studio history.  Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for more historical blog postings. Source: http://lantern.mediahist.org/catalog/movurewor29chal_0663

By | 2017-02-23T14:10:13+00:00 August 13th, 2013|Selig Polyscope Company, Studio History|0 Comments

Selig History: William N. Selig Passport Application

It is the first Monday in June and the summer vacation season is here.  We want to share a recent find that goes with the theme of summer vacation travel, discovered when we did some research on our company history. One of the missions of the Selig Polyscope Company is to research and preserve the rich history of our company and its founder William N. Selig.  A few months ago as we were going through some public records we found a 1909 passport application for Col. Selig.  What was most exciting and interesting was he had his passport sent to the Selig Studios in Chicago.  This is noted at the bottom of the application. Be sure to stay tuned to this blog to learn more exciting facts and news from our company both past and current. Safe Travels!

By | 2017-02-23T14:10:13+00:00 June 3rd, 2013|Selig Polyscope Company|0 Comments

Happy 149th Birthday, Colonel!

Happy 149th Birthday, Colonel!  William N. Selig was born March 14, 1864, in Chicago, Illinois to Joseph and Antonia Selig at 10 Kramer Street.  After a trip to Dallas in 1894, where he saw a demo of Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope, he went back to Chicago and started to work on a projector of his own.  He founded the Selig Polyscope Company in April of 1896.  Colonel William N. Selig became a pioneer in the formation of the motion picture industry.  A lot of his ideas, techniques as well as the foundations he laid are still used today.   Here are some facts about the Colonel: He was a vaudeville magician and his act was “Selig The Conjurer” Married Mary Pinkham in 1899. Founded the Selig Polyscope Company in 1896. Made the first industrial film for meatpacking king Philip D. Armour in 1900. In 1909 Selig was the first producer to expand film-making operations to the West Coast, where he set up studio facilities in the Edendale area of Los Angeles with director Francis Boggs. In 1911 he was shot and wounded during a homicide at his Los Angeles studio. Built the largest private zoo in the world. Responsible for developing [...]

By | 2017-02-23T14:10:14+00:00 March 14th, 2013|Selig Polyscope Company, Studio History|1 Comment

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